The Buncombe County Commissioners approved a greenways plan with a price tag of $39.3 million and no strategy for paying the bill. SWEET! As justification, the commissioners noted New Belgium gave the city a check in the amount of $50,000 to help. The commissioners, to persuade New Belgium to locate within their boundaries, just agreed to give New Belgium an economic development incentive page valued at $8,450,000, payable over twelve years – and that’s on top of Asheville and state incentives. Chair David Gantt pretty much gave the TEA Partiers a good shaking down for not appreciating this -99.4% ROI.

Linda Humphries spoke passionately about walking in her meadow if she wants to move about. She didn’t want tax dollars wasted greening up the already green spaces. Alan Ditmore didn’t want interlopers traipsing and snooping. People, he observed, have a tendency to want to regulate what they see. Jane Bilello blasted the “scheme to confiscate private property” with a solid speech, adding to quotes from the Founders, “Either you own property or your are property.” I thank her for the most sensible block of commissioner meeting time in a decade. Not to worry, the commissioners commiserated with the folks wanting to fight the obesity crisis with impervious surfaces. The vote was unanimous, and boy did that feel good.

Meanwhile, young communists were drifting in to support a living wage discussion coming up on the agenda. I suspected I was due for yet another lecture on how wage controls have no adverse effects on the economy, and in fact would make roses bloom beneath my feet if I would but let them. Fortunately for me, I opted instead for a conference call elsewhere, in which serious businessmen were going to discuss the cliff. According to consultant John Boyle, government spending in 2009 comprised 38.5% of the GDP. If the annual amortization of its unsecured liabilities is added, the share increases to 65.0%. Adding healthcare costs, government would make up 74.1% of the economy.

Government gets its money through taxation, printing, and borrowing. The country’s credit is about shot, the dollar is no longer king in international markets; but I’m sure a quarter of the population wouldn’t mind working four FTE’s to support all the government workers and programs. Yeah. That’s the ticket. Let’s put greenways in everybody’s yard, and get gobs and oodles of federal grants to pay for it all. Like I said, SWEET!